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Can I recover data from a drive with it connected to another system?

Goal is to be able to have a hard drive that needs to be recovered plugged into a laptop with the original drive in an enclosure connected to the laptop via USB. When I follow the normal process with unlocking with the xml and code of the day it gives me a error that says failed to retrieve key check key from primary disk. We are using the newest PE boot disk and can get to the PE recovery utilities with no issues.

If we click ok to the error mentioned above, we can view the drives and file system except the drives we want to pull data from say they are inaccessible when we try and expand the file system.

Is there a way we can use this method? In some cases we have to pull drives for one reason or another and get the data back to the users (eventually) so this would be a quick way to accomplish this. Let me know if it's possible or if they need to be physically put into another system shell and booted that way.

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McAfee Employee
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Re: Can I recover data from a drive with it connected to another system?

Hi @Jmac24 ,

Thank you for writing in here. 

I am pretty confused on the methods which has been mentioned here. Excuse me on that.

However, I can tell you what are the standard methods to recover the data.

You can use the latest WINPE tool. And the HDD from which the data needs to be recovered should be connected as a Primary disk in the mother board , before you are booting this machine using the WINPE tool.

Then once booted you can authenticate and authorise the PE tool using the XML recovery key and then try using the File Explorer or Explorer++ utility to see the drives in this Disk. If you are unable to see anything in here, then make sure to click on the Disk Information in the McAfee EETECH tool which is available inside this WINPE. If the Disk Information itself is not available then recovery of data could not be done mostly using the WINPE tool as the HDD sectors is corrupted.


First things first, what happened to the Original HDD which you are trying to recover the data from? kindly explain the issue for better understanding.

MDE version which was used to encrypt this HDD? UEFI firmware or Legacy BIOS?

Kindly share us the photographs of the issue which you are seeing. 


Thank you

Jithendran S
McAfee Employee
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Message 3 of 3

Re: Can I recover data from a drive with it connected to another system?

We ended up opening a ticket, there are various reasons why we would have to pull a drive out and have to recover in another system. A couple reasons would be a motherboard failure, malware where we take a forensic image and put a new drive into the original system, hard drive controller failure. It would make running a recovery much easier if we could simply connect the drive to a system via USB enclosure and run mcafee recovery tools to regain access to the data.

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